PESTICIDE TASK FORCE RELEASES DRAFT REPORT PUBLIC
MEETING JAN. 21 IN BURLINGTON COUNTY
The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today released
Pesticide Contamination Task Force's recommendations for
sampling and remediation of soil containing pesticide residues to protect
public health and safely manage the state's natural resources.
report was submitted to DEP Commissioner Bob Shinn this
week and will be presented to the public at a meeting on Thursday, Jan.
21, at 7 p.m. in the Burlington Township Municipal Building. Shinn will
attend the meeting and review public comment prior to incorporating the
recommendations to guide DEP policy.
"New Jersey is the first state to take action to control
exposure from historic pesticide use. We had to rethink the way we deal
with industrial discharges to expand our remediation guidelines to encompass
the 'green' side of pesticide residues on farmland and orchards," Shinn
Shinn created the task force in April 1997 after residual
pesticide contamination was found in soil at a housing development built
on a former orchard in Burlington Township. DEP supervised remediation
of that site which presented new issues to be addressed for future guidelines
at other potentially contaminated properties.
DEP estimates that at least 5 percent of the state's acreage
may be impacted by the historical use of pesticides. Research indicates
that similar problems exist in other states and countries from use of
agricultural pesticides such as arsenic, lead, DDT and Dieldrin prior
to the 1970s. Arsenic and lead are two naturally-occurring metals and
it is often difficult to distinguish between concentrations from the application
of pesticides and those that occur naturally.
"The recommendations developed by this task force will be
a model for other states as they, too, deal with development of former
agricultural lands," Shinn said.
While there is currently no state requirement that agricultural
soil be tested prior to development, many builders and lenders, and some
municipalities, are now requiring that proposed development sites be tested.
"The strategies proposed by the task force will go a long
way toward managing a complex problem by offering flexibility and choice
of options for various situations. As we have learned in meeting other
goals, we must work in partnership with public and private organizations
to implement effective environmental safeguards," Shinn said.
The task force members represented a diverse group of organizations
including agriculture, real estate, environmental and health interests,
bankers, municipal government and builders.
"The report is an important first step while DEP continues
to evaluate environmental information and conducts further research,"
said Assistant Commissioner for Site
Remediation Rick Gimello, who directed the task force.
The task force recommendations include:
Sampling should be conducted for former agricultural areas with
exposed soil that are used by children, such as schools, daycare centers
Sampling of former agricultural areas, and any necessary remediation,
should be conducted prior to development.
DEP will provide guidance concerning exposure control alternatives
and sampling to anyone concerned with historic pesticide residues.
DEP will provide an appropriate sampling methodology specifically
designed for the investigation of pesticide residues in soil at agricultural
DEP should allow a remedial alternative involving soil blending for
pesticide residues in soil at former agricultural areas when it is
protective of public health.
Remedial options for new development sites should include: excavation,
customized plans based on development specifics, consolidation and
covering of contaminated soil on-site under roads and structures or
capping contamination with clean soil, providing that deed notices
are filed to prevent disruption of the capped material.
Changes in land use will trigger the sampling of agricultural areas prior
to development. DEP is currently providing guidance and appropriate sampling
methodology for agricultural properties.